How These 5 Companies Keep Their Remote Cultures Thriving

Keeping an authentic culture rooted in values and held together by genuine teamwork and passion is hard enough when you’ve got most of your staff coming into the same office every day. It’s exponentially harder to accomplish the same thing honestly when your employees are instead spread out all over the city, the state, the country, or the globe. But mastering the relatively new art of keeping a culture thriving is a gauntlet that has been thrown down in front of most companies only recently, when the 2020 pandemic forced the change for safety’s sake.

So how do you transplant a thriving culture from an office model to a remote model? Here’s how 5 companies who had to go fully remote in 2020 figured it out.


Has your company always been remote, or did the pandemic force a change?

The majority of our team worked out of Instacart’s main offices in San Francisco, Atlanta, and Toronto as well as regional offices in 15 cities across the U.S. When the pandemic emerged in North America, we transitioned to remote work and our teams worked quickly to find ways to best support our 2,000+ employees as they adjusted to the new normal and set up in their new home offices.

How does Instacart keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation? 

We have an active community of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) who led the charge of organizing remote social events and cultural heritage celebrations. They brought on speakers for our “A Penne For Your Thoughts” series and created workshops on topics from “rocking your review” to D&I training sessions with Check Your Privilege.

Our Workplace Experience team also quickly pivoted to help us master the art of being virtually social. They stepped up to help keep employees connected through programming that spans group workout classes, meditation sessions, cooking and mixology classes, and even magic shows for the little ones.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added/changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture? 

While we curated a full schedule of virtual programming and sent out stay-at-home care packages, we recognize that the pandemic has impacted our employees in many different ways and prioritized our team’s health.

We introduced benefits focused on mental health and wellbeing to better support our employees as they adapted to balancing their personal and professional lives at home. We also know our community of parents and caregivers was heavily impacted as schools and care centers closed, so we added new flexible accommodations to reduce the burden on everyone who added distance learning and at-home child and eldercare to their plates.

Check Out Instacart’s Careers Page Here!


Has Hollister Staffing always been remote, or did the pandemic force a change?

The pandemic entirely forced our company to move to a fully remote workforce. We have always offered flexibility to work remotely on occasion but never to this extent. We’ve been pleased with the results created by the team while working remotely and will continue to encourage a remote and flexible work environment for as long as it makes people most comfortable.

How does your company keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation?

We first place a huge emphasis on maintaining a high level of interaction and engagement including company-wide Monday meetings (via Zoom) with presence from leadership, acknowledgment programs to publicly acknowledge employees who go above and beyond, bi-weekly company-wide trivia, creating opportunity for cross-divisional interaction through sales competition teams, and weekly virtual book club. We place an equal amount of importance on prioritizing mental health and wellbeing through offering Mental Health Days, identifying employees who may need extra connection opportunities (i.e. those living alone), and hosting weekly guided meditations from our CEO (previously held in our office Meditation room) to alleviate stress.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added/changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

1. We started to offer Mental Health Days across the board where everyone knew the entire company would be offline. We offered one in May, one in July, and one in October.
2. Identify at-risk employees: We’ve been hyper-aware of employees who have been living alone and may need extra connection opportunities. The leadership team makes commitments to reach out to those people, and others who leadership isn’t interacting with regularly, to ensure high engagement across the board.

Check Out Hollister Staffing’s Careers Page Here!


When did Nordic begin to move towards a remote culture?

Over the last 10 years, the number of our remote employees within our corporate office has slowly increased, but the pandemic forced our entire Madison-based office to switch to remote.

How does your company keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation?

Nordic has supported employees who had to instantly switch to remote work by providing them with the technology and resources they need to do their job effectively from their homes. Many employees have struggled with childcare issues that the pandemic has wrought, but Nordic has been steadfast in its flexibility mindset by working with employees to structure their days as they need to support their work-life balance. Nordic provides frequent communication to assure its employees that they are here for them during a challenging time. Frequent emails with work-from-home tips and wellness activities keep employees engaged and healthy. Zoom happy hours and holiday gatherings help remote teams feel connected despite the distance.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added/changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

In the early days of the pandemic, Nordic sent daily emails with tips and tricks to help its employees adapt to a remote work lifestyle. During a year fraught with civil unrest, Nordic supported the creation of two employee resource groups to support its Black and LGBTQIA2+ communities and allies. These groups have provided safe spaces for active conversations and supportive actions that affect these often-marginalized communities. With the goal of fostering a more inclusive and diverse work environment, these groups are already affecting positive change within Nordic.

Check Out Nordic Consulting’s Careers Page Here!


Has your company always been remote, or did the pandemic force a change? 

Chegg’s employees, more than 1800 of them, were primarily based in our Santa Clara, New York, Portland, India, and Israel offices. Once the pandemic hit in March 2020, 100% of employees were working from home.

How does Chegg keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation? 

We believe that the culture at Chegg is wherever our employees are, culture transcends beyond the four walls of our offices. Externally we put students first, but internally our employees come first. We tried to ensure our in-person events, which our employees love, continued virtually, but we also looked at adding to those. For instance, we added one of NYC’s top chefs to the schedule and he would give us regular cooking demos. We also supported employees in whatever challenges they faced. Each employee received $500 to spend on home office ergonomics, and for those who struggled with childcare while schools were remote, we gave parents $1000 towards childcare expenses. In the summer we gave everyone Fridays off, in the Fall, we said no meeting Fridays, just to give people breathing space to manage their lives during the pandemic.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added/changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

Chegg already has a flexible vacation policy, but we gave our employees the week of July 4th off. We recognized that people didn’t really switch off during the pandemic if everyone else was working, so we gave the whole company the week off. It worked so well, we did it for Thanksgiving week too. We also gave people Fridays off during the summer so they could catch up on life, which was throwing up greater challenges in a pandemic. In the Fall, we encouraged employees not to schedule meetings on Fridays. We keep assessing our policies and procedures and seek feedback from our employees every step of the way to ensure we’re supporting them and their needs right now.

Check Out Chegg’s Careers Page Here!


Has Alida always been remote, or did the pandemic force a change?

Alida’s global teams were about 30% remote before the pandemic. Since March 2020, we’ve been 100%  remote across the globe.

How does your company keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation? 

The Alida team leads with empathy and authenticity and focuses on its people, first. We foster clear and consistent communication and encourage continuous feedback from our employees. The entire organization also makes time for personal conversations during calls, comes together for happy hours, and stays informed through ongoing all-hands meetings.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added/changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

Alida has added ongoing Friday remote social hours that see employees from all over the organization attend, including the CEO. We’ve also initiated remote team professional development trainings and self-discovery sessions as well as a remote Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Check Out Alida’s Careers Page Here!


Has your company always been remote, or did the pandemic force a change?

The pandemic definitely forced a change for us at Nextdoor – we went from being in the office every day to shifting to a completely remote workforce.

How does Nextdoor keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation? 

We keep our culture thriving through fun slack integrations like Standup and Prosper, which asks questions each day, for example: “What tv show are you binge-watching this weekend?” or “Name your favorite Trader Joe’s item” and Donut, which matches employees up to get to know each other better! One of the many highlights for our People Team is sharing a “gif that describes your week” on Fridays. We’ve also done lots of themed happy hours as well as hosted multiple guest speakers who have shared great insights with us all.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added or changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

Our CEO has set a great example for the company by establishing a professional, yet authentic tone as we all navigate the many challenges that working from home has presented. This has opened the door to a more transparent work environment and genuine conversations with one another. From instituting impromptu mental health days and detailed notes in response to current events, our leadership team has gone above and beyond to provide us with resources and support.

Another practice centers around employee recognition, when twice a year the company votes for individuals who represent our values. This new tradition has allowed us to celebrate our employees’ achievements and accomplishments on a grand scale.

Check Out Nextdoor’s Careers Page Here!


When did Calix become fully remote?

Prior to the pandemic, Calix supported a hybrid model.  Based on an employee’s role, the individual could choose to work from home, a Calix office, or both.  A few months into the pandemic we decided to fully embrace a work from anywhere model.

How does your company keep a culture thriving in a remote work situation?

Collaboration, collaboration tools, and open communication are key.  Collaboration promotes inclusiveness and camaraderie and investing in tools that employees prefer for collaboration such as tools for connecting, messaging, posting comments and whiteboarding makes it easy. Open communication enables employees to share their ideas, provide feedback and recognize great teamwork and appreciation of each other.

Can you give us 1-2 specific examples of practices you’ve added or changed over the last 9 months to keep improving your culture?

We prioritized the well-being of our workforce by launching a new lifestyle fund covering reimbursements for purchases and services that promote well-being and back-up childcare, added more company holidays, launched wellness awareness resources, and promoted flexible work schedules.

To support a terrific work from anywhere experience for our employees, we expanded our internet reimbursement and built out our home office program with ergonomic furniture choices and proper video cameras, headsets, computer equipment, and supplies to enable our teams and we invested to professionally virtualize numerous company and customer events to enable strong communications and collaboration while keeping our teams safe.

Check Out Calix’s Careers Page Here!